So in case you survived Black Friday and missed it, today is Cyber Monday. This morning bright and early I logged into my Amazon account. Alas, there were no special deals on either the Brita water filter replacements or Gracie’s Greenies Canine Dental Chews that I was prepared to purchase. Nevertheless, I needed both items and within five minutes I had completed my purchase and received an email confirmation for my order. Now that’s efficiency at its finest.
Fresh from this experience I decided to try www.healthcare.gov to see how “new and improved” the site was. One of the issues which I had not seen and hoped to find in the latest iteration of the site was to be able to look at specific plans and find out whether my doctor was a participating physician. I was, in essence, planning on doing some comparative shopping. But I found that when I was referred to the Nevada Health Link, that information was still not available.
There was, however, a reassuring message on that web page that suggested that if I wanted to speak with a person and “have all my questions answered” I could call the toll free number and get the information I wanted. As speaking with a person was my preference anyway, I decided to pursue that avenue.
So I called the toll free number, listened to the prompts and looked forward to hearing a friendly, helpful voice on the other end. When I hit the third prompt, “If you have any other questions,” I immediately was thanked by the robotic voice and told that “my call would be answered in the order in which it was received and that my expected wait time was 43 minutes.” As that was more time than I hoped to spend on hold I decided to try again later.
I made some oatmeal, went in the backyard and gave Gracie her morning treats while I ate my breakfast. Charlie the mockingbird stopped by and I set out some food for him and watched him enjoy his meal and then entertain us with his singing.
About an hour had passed and I decided to try my call again. On this second attempt I was informed that my wait time had increased to an hour and forty-seven minutes. Years ago I had surgery to correct a bunion. That entire procedure took less time than my prospective wait time just to get information. And I sincerely wonder whether the person I might finally reach could actually answer my questions.
Being a persistent sort I will try again. Perhaps midnight will be a time that offers a shorter wait period. But I’m not certain that the phones are manned 24/7 so I might find that I’m asked to call back during normal business hours – which will put me right back where I was this morning. Only time will tell. But if I want to get the information it seems to me that with only three weeks to enroll in a plan or face a penalty, the wait times are likely to get worse as we approach that deadline.
But I couldn’t help thinking that instead of shopping for health insurance I might consider looking into prepaid funeral arrangements. With all the difficulty facing the consumer who is mandated to buy health insurance, I’ll bet those who offer those services are probably ramping up their phone banks to accommodate those prospects who are tired of being put on terminal hold in their effort to comply with Obamacare.